“The aspiring poet is constantly lowering a bucket only half way down a well. coming up time and again with nothing but empty air. The frustration is immense. But you must keep doing it anyway. After many years of practice, the chain draws unexpectedly tight, and you have dipped into the waters that will continue to entice you back. You’ll have broken the skin on the pool of yourself.”
– SEAMUS HEANEY
Welcome to this regular slot each Wednesday, which I call Writers’ Well because: it’s intended to be a source of nourishment and inspiration for the writer in you, it expresses my belief that creative writing can benefit our well being on many levels, and…I love the above quote from Seamus Heaney. It gives me goosebumps every time. It also resonates with my own intention when leading writing workshops. It’s not about producing good writing, it’s about brave, real writing. Writing that goes down deep within to draw up something unexpected.
Each week, I share one of the writing prompts used the previous Friday in my weekly workshop, along with an example of what was written in response. Today’s prompt (allow around 10-15 mins in total) is to write…A modern day fable
If you’re in a group, each person should write three job titles, one each on a three small pieces of paper. These then get folded up, and mixed up with everyone else’s, after which each person picks two. If you’re doing this by yourself, maybe write five jobs, each on a separate piece of paper, and then pick two.
I picked bank manager and newspaper delivery boy/girl. This is what I wrote:
The boy was just about to put the newspaper through the letter box when Jeremy opened the door. He turned quickly before there was time for to receive a reply to his greeting, jumped on his bike and had disappeared around the corner before Jeremy’s sleepy pre-caffeine brain had even taken in the headlines.
Monday morning and the tie around his neck was both a comfort and a collar – soothingly familiar, but also feeling like it came with an invisible lead that limited his freedom. He pulled up in the car park and walked the short distance up the high street to open up.
He was the first in and disabled the alarm, settling in behind his desk to review his diary for the day. He was meeting a couple who wanted to remortgage their home at 9.30, and there were interviews for the cashier vacancy later. He found himself thinking about the boy (what was his name?) rushing off on his bike with an urgency and aliveness he hadn’t felt in…? Well, not for a while at any rate.
“Good morning Mr Blanford,” his head cashier greeted him. “Coffee?”
“Thank you Kate,” he replied, taking the relaxed smile off his face and replacing it automatically with something appropriately professional, polite.
The next Monday, Jeremy was waiting for him.
“Morning,” the boy said, turning to rush off again.
“Good morning Tom, and thank you.”
Tom stood, smiling a little uncomfortably at the unexpected exchange. “It’s cool,” he said with a shrug, hopped on his bike, and was off.
Jeremy put his new navy anorak on over the neatly pressed suit he wore, and climbed onto his new bike. As he cycled in to work he found himself waving at people he knew as he passed. Locking his bike to a sturdy railing he checked his watch and jogged with urgency the short distance to the bank.
“Morning Mr Blanford.” Kate was already there, waiting by the still locked door.
“Jeremy please, Jeremy. Am I late?”
“Not at all sir. I mean…”
“Jeremy,” she echoed with a smile.
“Well,” he said, holding the door open, “after you.”
If you enjoyed this prompt, then you can find more here: